"This is the one trophy that is missing from my collection," Mario Gomez told UEFA.com as the German striker aims high with Beşiktaş in the UEFA Europa League.
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A hugely prolific striker for Stuttgart and Bayern München, 30-year-old Mario Gomez has joined Beşiktaş on loan, hoping that a good season in Turkey might give him a chance of playing at UEFA EURO 2016 and winning the most significant trophy missing from his cabinet.
As they prepare for their double-header with Lokomotiv Moskva following a good start to Group H, the German international striker spoke to UEFA.com.
UEFA.com: You joined Beşiktaş on loan from Fiorentina. What was behind that decision?
Mario Gomez: I decided to come here for a reason. At Fiorentina, I reached a stage where I wasn't really moving forward, and I just needed a new challenge. And for me it was important to play at a club this season which was fighting at the top – fighting for the domestic league title – so that I have a good season I can maybe still make it to the EURO in France next summer.
UEFA.com: Do you feel that UEFA Europa League success is a big deal for Beşiktaş fans?
Gomez: It is a dream and a target for all of us. This is the one trophy that is missing from my collection; I've won the Champions League, been a domestic champion and cup winner [in Germany], so basically I have won everything at club level – except the Europa League. So it would be great to win it. But there are some very good teams in the Europa League this season, like Dortmund and Schalke from Germany, and Liverpool.
UEFA.com: Has your style of play has evolved over the years?
Gomez: My role has always changed with my teams' playing styles. At Stuttgart we played with two strikers, but we actually played very defensively and focused on counterattacks, so we had a lot of space as strikers. At Bayern we played a 4-3-3 and I was by myself up front, and we always attacked, so there was hardly any space, and it took a few months to adapt to that.
At Fiorentina it was different again. The Italian league is pretty difficult for strikers because all the teams play pretty defensively. And here at Beşiktaş, it is pretty similar to how it was at Bayern. We are one of the strongest teams here; we will always dominate and will always attack.
UEFA.com: Who was your boyhood role model as a centre forward?
Gomez: My first idol was Romário when he played for Barcelona and Brazil. He was the reason for me to watch football on TV.
UEFA.com: Do you get as much satisfaction from scoring a tap-in as one from 30 metres?
Gomez: Yes. For me every goal is the same – certainly important goals are nicer to score, but I don't care how they go in. It's about what they mean for the team.